By Spy Uganda
Kampala: According to a couple of letters seen by this website, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) finally came to a conclusion of transferring government’s 25% shares held in the Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo to Uganda Development Corporation (UDC).
For our first time readers, the Government, through MoFPED, holds 25 percent of the shares (equivalent to 15,061,209, 120 ordinary shares) in the joint venture that owns the resort whereas Meera Investments Ltd (owned by Sudhir) has (8,434,277,107 ordinary shares) while Sudhir Ruparelia as a person has (30,724,866,605 ordinary shares) and his wife Jyotsna Ruparelia has (6,024,483,648 ordinary shares).
Since 2016 there has been a process to transfer the shares to be under Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), which actually is said to have been a ‘thorn’ between the two entities for some time. Infact,even the Solicitor General is seen in some documents guiding on how legally it should be handled as Ministry’s PS-Ramathan Ggoobi confirms below in one of the letters;
“Reference is made to your letter Ref. AB 215/287/01 dated 5th November 2021 to this office on the above subject matter and requiring a written explanation from the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) as the regulator of Agencies affiliated by Subvention.
This Ministry received a communication Ref. UDC/CR/110/1/1 dated 27th January 2020 from the Executive Director, Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) requesting the Ministry for a transfer of all the Shares held in Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Limited to facilitate the operationalization of schedule 2 of the UDC Act.
The Ministry wrote to Solicitor General seeking legal advice on how to handle this transaction of transferring Government shares. In a letter, Ref: ADM.202/03 dated June 22, 2021, the Solicitor General guided on the transfer of the 15,061,209,120 shares from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to Uganda Development Corporation.”
Ggoobi further notes that the Ministry has since signed the transfer of shares stock forms (being the holder of the shares on behalf of the Government) and returned the same to the Executive Director, UDC for filing with the Registrar of Companies and further management.
“Reference is made to your letter Ref: UDC/CR/187/1 dated 22nd September 2021 regarding the above subject. The Ministry has fully executed the transfer of shares stock forms effecting the transfer of all the 15,061,209,120 shares held in Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Ltd to UDC. This is, therefore, to forward the signed forms for further management.”
So What’s Tycoon Sudhir’s View On Government’s Move?
According to a November 5th letter we intercepted wrote by Jacqueline Muhimbise, representing the Clerk to Parliament Adolf Mwesige, the business mogul [Sudhir] was tasked by Parliament’s Committee on Tourism, Trade, and Industry to explain transfer of government shares in Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Limited to UDC.
On November 10th, Sudhir issued a response letter to the Clerk informing him that the management of the government shares lies with the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Hon. Matia Kasaija and due to that fact, the government had the right to choose which entity should hold its shares on its behalf.
He responded, “GOU holds the 25 percent shares through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. GoU is free to decide by whom its shares are held.
We have not received communication from the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development regarding the decision to transfer its shares to UDC as the chosen and preferred entity to hold GoU shares. In case we missed it, kindly share a copy so that when we appear we address you about it appropriately through the normal procedures for transfer of shares and UDC will then be the entity holding GoU shares.”
The committee had invited the Meera Investments Limited Managing Director to appear on November 12, but Mr. Sudhir says the MD would be returning on the evening of the same day the interaction with the committee was meant to happen, consequently asking for the rescheduling of the meeting.
Meanwhile, we have since learnt that the UDC Executive Director Dr. Patrick Birungi, has already notified the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance to start the process of transferring the government shares to the UDC through the right procedure as guided by Solicitor General.